20 June 2008
The highlight of my west coast beer wandering was the Port Brewing Real Ale Festival. So what is a Real Ale festival you ask....well it's very simple (and very yummy). "Real Ale" includes cask conditioned hand pumped beers and bottle conditioned beers ONLY.
Before we go any further, click on the first photo above....after you're done, drooling, wetting your pants and passing out, I'll explain....OK are you done? OK go ahead...click on it and look again...I'll wait....
You are looking at a rack of hand-pumps. That line continues beyond what you can see in the photo and around the corner and back up another wall. You are looking at 56 individual hand-pumps!
You're going to need time to stop hyper-ventilating so I'll start slow. Your admission gets you a pint glass (yes a pint glass) with a tiny little line at the bottom that says 4oz. Get a good look at that 4oz line, because you'll never see it again. These guys are "generous". So what about the beers you say....well rather than list all 56 pumps I'll list a few and let you scour the signs in the 2nd photo. Highlights: Alpine Brewing Pure Hoppiness (8% ABV), Avery Brewing Uber Schwein (9.2% ABV), Backstreet Brewery Molly's Request Oak Aged Baltic Porter (9% ABV), Green Flash Grand Cru (9% ABV), Hollister Brewing Bowling & Beyond (8.5% ABV), Lagunitas Hop Stoopid (9.5% ABV), Moylans Hopsickle Imperial IPA (9.2% ABV), Port Brewing Doheny Double IPA (9.1% ABV), Port Brewing Old Viscosity (10.5% ABV), Speakeasy Old Godfather (10% ABV), Stone Imperial Russian Stout (10.2% ABV), Stone Vertical 7 (8.4% ABV), Stone Belgian Chocolate Stout (9.3% ABV), Alesmith Double Coffee Speedway Stout (12%), Lost Abbey Angel's Share (12.5% ABV) and Firestone Walker Brewing Parabola (which we named Paralysis)---13%ABV!
Have I said enough? Well I guess I should mention the VIP pass that also got us samples of 21 additional bottle conditioned beers like t'SMisje Guido (with mustard seeds), Daleside Monkey Wrench, De Proef Signature Ale, Fullers Vintage Ale 2007, Lost Abbey Isabella Proximus, Bink Tripel, Alvinne Podge Imperial Stout, Unibroue 15th Anniversary and Achilles Serafijn Celtic Angel.
I'll never be able to describe what an amazing collection of beers this was.....so I'll just say two things....1) WOW! and 2) This is an ANNUAL festival....anyone interested?